Howdy! I’m a goofball from Texas who spends too much time playing videogames, woodworking, and thinking about dinosaurs. I’m obnoxious in a way that only younger brothers can be, and I live with both a super-supportive wife and an incredibly unhelpful pupper named Ryker.
I hope you enjoy the stories I have to tell!
I’d like to give a big hello to my excellent nephew. May all of you take as much joy in learning and discovery as he does!
Describe yourself in five words: Goofy, excitable, clever, friendly, optimistic
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?: During the early Pandemic, my wife and I made a weekly cooking show. That’s ‘write’, a shy writer cooked for a camera!
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?: Two things: 1) I have an incredibly supportive wife and family, and 2) I collect hobbies like some people collect stamps, so I have a lot of experience being new and bad at things. It helps you to push through self-doubt if you’re used to the feeling!
What scares you the most?: Loneliness. Do you ever think about yourself like, “Man, that guy’s a jerk, hope I don’t get stuck with just him!?”
What makes you happiest?: Learning new things.
Why do you write?: I like to create things. Writing is one of my favorite creative interests because I’ve always believed that books are one of the most interesting and important things that our society has created.
Have you always enjoyed writing?: Yes, but it’s taken a long time for it to catch up to my love of reading!
What motivates you to write?: I have such a supportive circle around me, always willing to listen to me get excited over my stories. But writing (and even the publishing/marketing stuff I’m so bad at) feels like an incremental progress thing. Sure, if you only write for half an hour, you may just end up with a few hundred words. But that’s always more words than you started with! Even if nobody ever reads them, that has value!
What writing are you most proud of?: So, the obvious answer is my first book, Lies and Magic, so I’ll set that aside. While I was finishing up my final edits of that, I saw a short fiction charity anthology called ‘Quick Draw: Fast and Funny Fiction’ accepting applications. It featured a ton of authors I admire, from Piers Anthony (one of my favorites when I was a young reader) to newer favorites like John Hartnes and R.E. Carr. So, I wrote flash fiction in the same world as Lies and Magic, and entered. Not only was my work accepted for publication alongside my heroes, it ended up releasing the same week as Lies and Magic! That was a heck of a week.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?: Off the top of my head, 1) Writing two books and counting, 2) supporting my wife while she teaches young minds, and 3) getting Eagle Scout as a kid.
What books did you love growing up?: The list is long and goofy. Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series really spoke to me, Piers Anthony’s puns matched my sense of humor well, and Ender’s Game showed kids my age being clever, which was the coolest thing.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?: “Invented time travel, solved world peace, totally rad dude.”
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?: I grew up moving up and down the Eastern Seaboard, followed by Texas, where I keep returning. I joke that everyone’s favorite food is related to where they’re born, and my birthplace in Maine still holds up in my love of shellfish!
How did you develop your writing?: Practice, as well as voraciously reading everything I could. A lot of other hobbies, like roleplaying games also cross-pollenate experience.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?: Absolutely marketing. Writing is fun (and if it isn’t, you probably won’t get far enough to succeed at the other two), and publishing has a lower bar for self-publication. My wife told me that it would be better for my mental health to self-publish and spend the time I’d otherwise use seeking traditional publishing to just keep writing, and I’ve never looked back. Marketing, though… I’m shy and really not good at calling attention to myself and my work. I keep trying and learning, though!
What marketing works for you? That’s a constantly-evolving answer. The easiest marketing of all is when people hear my nephew talk about my book. He’s an amazing kid, a great reader, and a lot like the younger me that I tailor my stories toward.
Do you find it hard to share your work? Yes and no. I don’t shy away from letting people read my stories, but talking to strangers and convincing people to read is incredibly tough for me.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? 100%. My wife listens incredibly patiently, my family markets my book on social media better than I ever could, and my friends have been wonderful through the years of late-night ramblings about writing.
What else do you do, other than write? I woodwork (mostly making pens), play videogames, cook, hike, board game, and generally do most things nerdy or crafty. Also, I sing karaoke incredibly poorly but with gusto.
What other jobs have you had in your life? I’ve done a bunch of high-tech computer work, I worked in HD-DVD when that was a thing, I’ve sacked groceries, and I’ve worked at a Boy Scout camp in the Florida Keys.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? This answer probably changes daily. I love learning, so I get excited about all different subjects! Today: the history of cartography.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Definitely a coast, maybe an island. I know this is meant to be geographical rather than specific, but let’s just say: I’d live in a lighthouse somewhere. That’d be cool. Lighthouses are like castles for explorers.
Tell us about your family? I thorougly believe in the idea of marrying someone smarter than yourself, and my wife Steph proves that I’ve done well. Ryker is our ornery Pomeranian pup, fierce protector and covetor of chicken. My parents and sister have always been amazing role-models to me. All three of them are incredibly capable people with diverse skill sets, and they mean the world to me.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? Either at a desk or a portable device. I stay digital because I’m too lazy to transcribe things later, but anywhere seated is at risk of becoming a writing surface!
How much sleep do you need to be your best?: What is sleep? That’s the thing you make characters do when you need to switch chapters, right?
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? I’ve mentioned wife, family, and friends enough that I’ll go specific: David is a friend who has been really good at listening to my ramblings throughout the pandemic. Thanks, boss!
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?: Successful writing is writing any amount that someone enjoys reading. Even if it’s just the writer.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?: Lies and Magic is a middle-grade fantasy novel, so I focus on that age range as well as their teachers and parents. I’ve been focusing my efforts on places those groups frequent, like selling my book at a local board game store. I’m working on setting up school visits (virtual or in-person) to better connect with my people.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it? : Lies and Magic is an adventure romp about young runaways who get adopted by a goblin tribe. There is con artistry, self-discovery, and even goblin romance! I wrote it because it’s the kind of story I would’ve loved as a kid, and that’s really my best measure. I don’t know if anyone else would like a book, but I can tell when a younger Will would.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? Dead people tend to make for unappetizing company! Jokes aside… Tamora Pierce, Roger Zelazny, and Warren Zevon all tell stories in different ways, so I’d love to just sit and hear them talk about… anything.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? Walking and playing games are pretty great. My dog joins me in the former, my friends the latter!
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?: I write happy stories. I hope that kids get the feeling that it’s okay to be their weirdest, most clever self, but mostly I want people to read my stories and feel refreshed, relaxed, and happy. There’s enough seriousness in the world that I’m happy to provide a little bubble of happy stories.
www.liesandmagic.com links to my writing, newsletter, and email address. If you are curious about anything, check it out there!